Health insurance is often the most valued benefit in any company’s benefits package. This is no surprise, as healthcare costs continue to rise each year. According to the American Medical Association, the average increase in individual health insurance has been about 4.5% per year for the past five years because of various cost increases. Increasing costs include high insurance premiums, high deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. To remain competitive, employers are focusing on non-traditional and affordable care offerings with quality initiatives, benefits personalization, and virtual care. Although most companies prioritize providing competitive group health insurance plans for their team members, they may not be spending enough time educating them about what the options mean for them and their families. In addition to providing information and transparency, there are a few other ways an employer can lower employee stress about health insurance.  

Why Health Insurance Can Be Stressful for Employees

Health insurance can be complicated for employees to navigate. They may worry about making a decision they will regret after a medical emergency, or their health situation changes. If an emergency occurs, they may not have a strong grasp of the options they signed up for in their plan. Another aspect of health insurance that can be stressful is a lack of control. Sometimes health insurance plans change unexpectedly, requiring employees to suddenly pay more or switch to another physician in the network. All these factors and more can contribute to team members feeling stressed about health insurance.

How Employers Can Improve

Employees sometimes need help deciding which health insurance plan is best for them. Employers can help with education, but they cannot tell employees which plan to choose. The decision is ultimately up to the employee. An employer’s role is to provide their teams with the available information and point them to the appropriate resources, so they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about their coverage. What is involved in educating employees about their options? Here are a few steps you can take to make the health insurance decision process a little easier on your team members.

1. Explain everything during new hire orientation.

Use the new hire orientation process to clearly describe what health insurance plans are available to your team members. Benefits training can include explaining the differences between plan options, demonstrating the benefits portal, instructions on how to enroll, and providing contacts, tools, and other resources. Providing training and being open to questions can make a big difference in easing the stress an employee might have during this process.

2. Make information available at any time.

Having a Human Capital Management system that your employees have access to at any time can be an important factor in lowering their concerns. A secure online portal that centralizes HR records online with new hire onboarding and benefits administration will allow employees to easily navigate their health insurance options. They will be able to view and compare health insurance plans, switch if eligible, add covered dependents, enroll, and much more. Many online portals, like Employee Navigator, also have the option of an intuitive self-service tool that can be helpful during onboarding. Having this information at their fingertips will help employees feel in control and make the enrollment process easier for the employer as well.

3. Provide ongoing education and communication.

Health insurance education doesn’t have to stop after orientation; rather, it should be an ongoing process, so your team members feel prepared and informed no matter what happens in their personal life. However, employees may still have personal situations they need help navigating. Although some questions may be answered in the online portal, it’s a best practice to provide additional options. This could include having a Google Form where employees can ask anonymous questions or providing someone they can talk to in person, over the phone, or via video conference. For example, an employee assistance program (EAP) can be a great resource for employees with diverse issues. An EAP is a voluntary, work-based program that offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal or work-related problems. An EAP will provide support for the employee no matter what they may be facing. Keeping your team members informed through ongoing communication centered around their health and well-being will make them feel valued.

How a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) Can Help

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can help make life easier for both employees and employers by providing quality, compliant, and up-to-date HR services. Using a PEO frees companies from hiring and maintaining a full in-house HR department, while still giving the business the benefits of a full-service department. Because PEOs manage multiple businesses and employees, they can negotiate with healthcare companies and other vendors as one large unit, resulting in cost-savings for clients. Here are a few other ways a PEO can help your employees.

1. Time and Resources

Among the many benefits of joining a PEO, the advantage of time may be the most impactful. Your team can spend a substantial amount of time at work handling routine HR, payroll, and benefits tasks. These tasks take time away from focusing on your core business functions and building relationships with your employees—two elements of your business that dramatically affect workplace culture. According to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations’ (NAPEO), PEO clients grow 7%-9% faster than other comparable businesses that do not use a PEO. A PEO ensures that your daily HR, payroll, and benefits tasks are running smoothly and within necessary compliance requirements, leaving your leadership team with the capacity to focus on growth and the well-being of your employees.

2. Education

Employees may not want to discuss medical issues, retirement savings, or other HR topics with a direct supervisor or someone in a C-level position. Instead, a PEO provides a safe and comfortable buffer between employers and employees around personal information. With a PEO like LBMC Employment Partners, your employees will gain access to Advocacy Services to help employees and their families not only understand their medical, dental, and vision coverages but to also make sure these coverages are working as they should. This can be highly valuable to your team members, as it can be reassuring to know there is an accessible expert who can provide pertinent advice and guidance. Employees can feel free to ask all the questions they want without worrying that they are taking up the time and energy of their direct supervisor. If needed they can go deep into the weeds of their benefits package with their dedicated HR Business Partner and other experienced professionals.

3. Employees Gain Access to Excellent Health Insurance

The bargaining power of a PEO is the main reason many businesses select the bundled service offerings of a PEO. As healthcare laws become more complex, it’s essential to partner with a company that can give your employees access to affordable, complete healthcare coverage and keep you in compliance with changing regulations. While some businesses struggle to secure feasible offers from insurers, a PEO places your business in a pool with thousands of other employees, making it more attractive for many insurance companies. Competing bids will lead to reasonable offers, and you and your employees will benefit from excellent health insurance.

Letting a lack of benefits harm your ability to attract and retain talent is a big mistake, especially with the bundled benefits and service offerings a PEO relationship can bring. By partnering with a PEO like LBMC Employment Partners, you’re providing your employees with high-level support. The PEO offers a bundled solution, rather than a piecemeal approach. In this way, your company can have the best of both worlds. Our PEO brings you first-class HR, payroll, and benefits solutions without taking time, energy, and brain space away from your team. With a strong PEO partner like us, you can gain measurable benefits and effective tools that make your life easier and lower the concerns of your employees. Contact us today to start the relationship.

If you are an active employee of one of LBMC EP’s PEO or broker clients, you should contact Advocacy Services at 615-386-3356 or 800-684-4440 or via email at msmith@yesmam.com if you have any questions about your health insurance benefits or are having problems with a medical provider or the insurance company. We are happy to make sure your health insurance benefits are working correctly for you.

See what our clients are saying:

“LBMC EP makes the onboarding and benefits process easier to navigate, so our staff can focus on training and tailoring the onboarding to the new hire. PMG is also able to access better employee benefits for our staff at a reasonable cost. The staff is always responsive to any questions or issues. The online portal, Employee Navigator, makes the hiring, onboarding, and benefits process informative, easy to navigate and quick to complete.” – Parthenon Management Group

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